We recently had an opportunity to get in conversation with Mrs.Reena Rai, the founder of Trans Queen India, a beauty pageant for Trans women and of the Deepa Ardnareshwar Empowerment Foundation working to fight taboos like Homosexuality and prejudices, Trans women are facing in the country. She is the first cis woman who has started working for Transwomen rights and the LGBT+ community.
This passion for organizing a pageant for Trans women arose when Mrs.Reena was going through hard times in her life. She had lost her best friend Deepa and was depressed due to it. At the same time, she met Vippy who previously was Vipin.
Vippy helped Mrs.Reena to recover from emotional trauma due to the loss of her friend and their friendship developed over time. Mrs.Reena recalled, whenever they were strolling down the street people used to greet Vippy with derision and mockery.
Subsequently, she realized the hurdles and pains suffered by Trans women. Vippy had considered suicide.
“Everyone treated Vippy differently Vippy and her family had abandoned her. I’d never judged or sympathized with her. On the contrary, I told her she was daring to speak out her truth” recalls Mrs.Reena.
Once, they both attended an event for the Hijra community, and a discussion regarding problems faced by the LGBTQ community was taking place. Then, Mrs.Reena realized that the LGBTQ community is trying to help people of their community. But, no development could have happened until and unless the mindset of heterosexual people was unchanged.
Every day in the morning, Mrs.Reena used to question herself “God, everyone has a purpose to fulfill in life. What is mine?” That day at the event, she knew her purpose of existence. She wanted to work for the inclusion and empowerment of the LGBTQ community no matter what it takes.
That is when Reena thought of the idea of a pageant for Transwomen. She said”I wanted to embrace the avatar of them which the society had ever seen before. People mocked them because they wore lipstick and heels. I did not just want to create models; I also wanted to create role models for society. “
Mrs.Reena Rai was born and bought up in conservative alleys on Old Delhi. She was unassertive if her family and mother would be able to accept her working for the community. But, Mrs.Reena’s obsession and passion easily convinced her mother. Her biggest supporters are her daughter and husband who was also the only financial sponsor of the organization. No one wanted to sponsor the organization as they felt it would tarnish their reputation.
When she started this, the most common question that people asked her was “Are you from the community?” She replied “The Community is from Me” she believes that homosexual people are born from heterosexual people and are no different.
Still, she persistently worked and did not lose hope. And created history for the first time on August 27, 2018, by organizing the first-ever beauty pageant for Trans Women in the country, Trans Queen.” We got a huge global response and it was picked up by international media and addressed globally” she narrates.
Then, it started the cycle of development and acceptance which was the biggest achievement for Mrs.Reena. “Previously when the children wanted to return to their families, the parents used to shut them down or isolate them when they used to visit them. But, after Trans Queen the acceptance was increased by the families” Mrs.Reena added.
Job offers started pouring for the contestants and the winners, International beauty pageants have been trying to reach out to contact them and some of these Jobs in reputed companies representing the inclusion of the community. Trans Queen India proved that Transgender people also have a lot of potentials if they are provided with opportunities and respect.
Mrs.ReenaRai also desires to have a home for minor kids in the future. She recalls“I got a call from a teenager, who had revealed his identity to his parents and was brutality beaten by them.” But, she could not help him as he was a minor and the parents could have registered a police case against her.
As at the time when a child hits puberty and reveals their identity they are generally a minor. At times when they are not accepted and abandoned. They do not have any alternative for fulfilling their basic needs for survival which Mrs.Reena wishes to work upon. She wants to provide a safe and healthy environment for these kids. So they can receive education and these people can be self-dependent.
Mrs.Reena Rai has also taken workshops in schools and colleges educating people and making them aware of the LGBTQ community and sharing the stories of success of their TransQueen in different sectors.
She also believes it’s very important for parents to teach the right thing at the right age. The change can only be bought when the children are informed about it.
With these efforts and determination, Mrs.Reena’s plans of expanding this internationally as transphobia are not just a national issue. But, it’s an international issue. She wants to make a world a better place for the entire LGBTQ community.
To become a part of her mission and to contribute to the cause follow them on Instagram, contact them, and register yourself as a volunteer. Every individual is capable of making a difference and every little effort counts as a stepping stone in the right direction.
We ThePopStories team, thank Mrs. Reena Rai for being a part of this interview and talking with us and we wish her Best of luck for all her ongoing and future endeavors.